Iceland May Introduce Bitcoin Mining Tax

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This is greater than Icelandic households use according to the national energy authority.

Elsewhere, The Wall Street Journal reports that the town of Wenatchee, Washington (pop. 31,000), has also become a hub for Bitcoin mining, again due to relatively affordable hydropower.

The article reports that interest has increased largely on virtual currency mining in Iceland.

Bitcoin mining operations alone are expected to use around 840 gigawatt hours of electricity this year to power both servers and cooling systems in data centres in Iceland, according to HS Orka director of business development Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, speaking to the BBC.

Mining of cryptocurrencies is booming in the land of fire and ice, due to low-priced energy. As more bitcoin enter circulation, more powerful computers are needed to keep up with the calculations - and that means more energy. Given that China is reportedly considering curtailing bitcoin mining, companies are looking at alternatives for mining locations, including Canada. Recent research from Sandbag demonstrated that bitcoin mining is one of a few emerging additional power demands specific to the digital economy, as well as video streaming.

"Sigurbergsson told the AP that he "could not have predicted this trend" four months ago...but then Bitcoin skyrocketed".

'Just today, I came from a meeting with a mining company seeking to buy 18 megawatts, ' he said.

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McCarthy further explained in a brief Signal call with Ars that he would like to meet with bitcoin companies in Iceland so that he can "know what they are doing" as a way to foster better dialogue with them.

Mr. Rauth said bitcoin should not be singled out as environmentally taxing.

But many other analysts say the real figure is likely smaller, and several experts recently told The Washington Post that bitcoin - now the world's biggest cryptocurrency - used no more than 0.14 percent of the world's generated electricity, as of last December.

The last time Iceland was an worldwide hub for finance, the venture ended with a giant bank crash, making the country one of the symbols of the 2008 global financial crisis.

So with 30% of the country's electricity coming from geothermal power, the country's geothermal resources are fuelling bitcoin mining.

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He said: "We are spending tens or maybe hundreds of megawatts on producing something that has no tangible existence and no real use for humans outside the realm of financial speculation". "That can't be good".

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